Yesterday, Automattic dropped version 4.4 of its popular WooCommerce plugin. The new release is a minor update with the biggest changes around the plugin’s blocks and coupon management in the admin. Two dozen people made 450 contributions to the release.
The WooCommerce team brought several updates to the plugin’s blocks. The biggest user-facing change is that the blocks will now use the WooCommerce thumbnail size instead of loading the full-sized image. This change means that images will respect the product image size settings that users can set via the WooCommerce > Product Images section in the customizer. This change will make sites using blocks more performant.
The block editor should be slightly speedier with this update. The team removed front end scripts that were not needed from the post-editing screen.
WooCommerce also updated its flagship theme, Storefront, yesterday. There is nothing in the release notes to suggest that the update corresponds with changes in WooCommerce 4.4, but it is a good idea for users to stay updated regardless.
Coupon Management Moved to the Marketing Hub in the Admin
In WooCommerce 4.1, the team added a new Marketing section in the WordPress admin. When it was initially launched, some users felt like WooCommerce had added a top-level menu item for little more than the purposes of upselling its extensions. The single admin screen also offered links backed to the WooCommerce knowledge base. Many comments on the launch of the marketing hub asked the team to reconsider making it a top-level menu item, at least until it offered something more than upsells and links back to the WooCommerce website.
Having a centralized marketing location in the WordPress admin makes sense for eCommerce websites though. Creating an online shop is only one part of the process. Successful stores need to have a marketing focus, and WooCommerce is seeking to create an experience that helps more store owners become successful.
While it is a minor change, moving the coupons screen to the marketing hub makes sense. For those end-users who make use of coupons, it should very much be a part of their marketing plan.
WooCommerce 4.4 still has the legacy coupons screen beneath the standard WooCommerce menu. However, clicking on the old link will generate an admin notice that migrates users to the new location. The notice provides a button to remove the legacy admin menu item.
Gary Murray, the Product Focus and Lead for WooCommerce, said the team had larger plans beyond the initial marketing hub in the announcement post. Coupons are merely a second stage in the longer-term roadmap. “Think automations, campaigns, customer segmentation, coupon management, marketing focused analytics, and reporting,” he wrote. While the roadmap for the marketing hub is not public, it will be interesting to see what tools the team adds in future iterations of the plugin.